Ewing Klipspringer is a young man who frequently attends Gatsby’s parties and essentially becomes an uninvited resident in the house. Nick explains that, over time, Klipspringer has earned the nickname “the boarder” as a result of his ongoing presence at the Gatsby estate. Although Gatsby knows who Klipspringer is, they do not appear to have a particularly close relationship, and this dynamic highlights the exploitative nature of the partygoers more generally. He takes advantage of Gatsby’s generosity to an extreme level, wandering the house looking disheveled and treating it as if it were his own. This behavior indicates a lack of initiative and care as well as a complete disregard for others. While these qualities certainly describe Klipspringer, Fitzgerald implies that they belong to the culture of the era more generally. Many of the novel’s characters, ranging from Tom and Daisy to the average partygoer, prove themselves to be reckless and often have a blasé attitude toward the world around them. Creating one figure who embodies the most extreme versions of these characteristics, however, allows Fitzgerald to highlight the drastic impact that such a culture can have on the individual.

Beyond the significance he brings to the novel as an individual, Klipspringer’s transactional relationship with Gatsby offers information about how the unwitting host engages with the outside world. The scene in which Gatsby demands that Klipspringer play the piano to entertain Daisy and Nick emphasizes his overall ambivalence toward him and the vast majority of his party guests. He does not seem to care that Klipspringer essentially resides in his house rent-free, so long as his unofficial tenant does what he asks of him. This simple exchange functions as a kind of transaction between the two men which calls attention to the superficiality pervading the characters’ lives. Gatsby’s attitude toward Klipspringer also emphasizes just how focused he is on capturing Daisy’s attention. The empty nature of Gatsby’s relationship with Klipspringer is reciprocated near the end of the novel as Nick tries to get people to come to the funeral. Initially thrilled when Klipspringer calls, Nick believes that “the boarder” intends to honor his former host. Instead, Klipspringer merely asks that a pair of his shoes be sent from Gatsby’s house to his new address, a selfish request which Nick promptly dismisses. He shows very little emotion toward the news of Gatsby’s death, and this reaction reinforces the transactional nature of their relationship.